Sammy Shore, Comedy Store Co-Founder and Stand-Up Comedian, Dies at 92

Sammy Shore - Getty - H 2019
Ethan Miller / Staff

The veteran performer opened for Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett and appeared in films from Jerry Lewis and Mel Brooks.

Sammy Shore, the co-founder of Los Angeles' World Famous Comedy Store and a stand-up comedian, has died. He was 92.

Shore died Saturday of natural causes, according to a post on the Comedy Store's Facebook page, and surrounded by family.

"Words can’t express how much his comedic gift, friendship, and beneficence will be missed. The bright light he shone and the laughter he brought into the lives of everyone he touched will never dim. There is only one 'Brother Sam'!" the Comedy Store post read.

Shore, who had an almost 70-year career as a stand-up comedian, founded the World Famous Comedy Store with his writing partner Rudy De Luca in 1972 in the former building that housed the legendary Sunset Strip nightclub Ciro's (owned by Hollywood Reporter founder Billy Wilkerson). By 1974, his ex-wife Mitzi Shore became the beloved owner of the club, which went on to host luminaries of the medium early in their careers, including Robin Williams, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jim Carrey, Richard Pryor, Garry Shandling and Roseanne Barr.

Around the same time, Sammy Shore's career took off when he opened for Elvis Presley during his Las Vegas residency at the International Hotel in 1969, a partnership that would last three years. That began a series of high-profile openings he would perform for other artists, including Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom Jones, Ann-Margret, Connie Stevens, Bobby Darin and Glen Campbell.

Shore was prolific over the course of his career, writing three books — The Warm-Up, 70 Sucks! and The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh — and was in the process of completing another, called Last Comic Sitting (Confessions of a Pissed-Off Comic). Comedy albums he produced included Brother Sam, Come Heal With Me, and 70 Sucks, But 80 is Worse. He also performed in one-man shows and made cameos on films including Jerry Lewis' The Bellboy and Mel Brooks' Life Stinks and television series such as Sanford and Son.

"However, he was most proud of his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, as you had 'arrived' if asked to appear on Ed’s show," the Facebook post reads.

Shore was also involved in humanitarian efforts: He and his wife, Suzanne Denni Shore, launched a series of "Funny Bones" fundraisers in partnership with the Nevada SPCA to raise money for medical care for abandoned animals who were otherwise considered not adoptable.

On Twitter, Shore's son, comedian and actor Pauly Shore, wrote, "Dad, you lived an amazing life and I'm so proud to say you are my father. When you're in heaven I'll be killing the crowds night after night and carrying on your legacy. Love you dad. Rest in peace."

Shore is survived by Suzanne; his children Scott, Sandi, Peter and Pauly; his grandchildren Lola and Caleb; and three dogs.

May 18, 3:53 p.m.: Updated with Pauly Shore's Twitter tribute.